For the Record by Regina Jennings (review)

fortherecord_jennings_bethanyhousePublisher’s Description:

Rather Than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.

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What a wonderful romp of an Ozarks story!  I laughed at least three times, I might have teared up at one point, and there wasn’t a truly dull moment to be found.

Betsy and Joel are both adorable, sympathetic characters.  Betsy Huckabee, who I enjoyed as a young girl in previous Regina Jennings novels, is now all grown up at 24, happily “on the shelf” and looking for a way to become independent.  Along comes the quite dashing Deputy Puckett from Texas.  She finds her story, and eventually love.  Oh, and quite a bit of adventure.

“I’m not worried about protecting your reputation, ma’am.  It’s my own I’m trying to protect.”

Betsy frowned.  When would this ornery man behave like a proper hero?  He was forever saying the wrong things. (p.71)

Joel Puckett is a wonderful male lead and his interactions with Betsy were especially entertaining.  The scene of their first kiss being a prime example.  His encounters with the Bald Knobbers, a local vigilante group, provided a glimpse of an interesting bit of Ozark Mountain history.  Joel has me wanting to go into the author’s back catalog to read the novel he originated in, Caught in the Middle.

“Remember, a hero always comes back for his lady,” he said.

“Don’t bother.”  She turned her face away to let him know the conversation was over, but when he rode off without another word, she found more to say.  “Don’t bother because I might just catch pneumonia, get frostbite, die, and get eaten by non-hibernating bears, all because you left me.” (p.211)

Betsy’s fictionalized accounts of Joel as “Eduardo” are also quite entertaining, with a definite dime store novel quality that makes them so much fun.

Regina Jennings has quickly become one of my favorite authors of humorous Christian Historical fiction and this was one of my most long-awaited anticipated reads for 2016.  For the Record was an absolute delight to read, full of quotable moments and quite difficult to write about without giving too much away.  I highly recommend it and wish that I could read it over again for the first time.

For the Record (Ozark Mountain Romance #3) by Regina Jennings | Bethany House, Nov. 2016 | paperback, 336 pages

This review refers to a complimentary copy received from the publisher through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program.  A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.


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